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Sir James Dewar



Sir James Dewar (September 20, 1842 March 27, 1923) was a Scottish chemist and physicist.

He was the youngest of six boys, and lost his parents at the age of 15. He was born in Kincardine-on-Forth and was educated at Dollar Academy and the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated. Later he became professor at the University of Cambridge in 1875 and became a member of the Royal Institution in 1877. He developed a chemical formula for benzene, now called Dewar benzene, and performed extensive work in spectroscopy for more than 25 years. In 1891 he discovered a process to produce liquid oxygen in industrial quantities. He developed an insulating bottle, the Dewar flask, still named after him, to study low temperature gas phenomena. He also used this bottle to
transport liquid gases such as hydrogen. In 1905 he observed that cold charcoal could produce a vacuum. This technique was quite useful for experiments in atomic physics. He is credited as the inventor of the vacuum flask.

Along with Frederick Augustus Abel, Dewar developed cordite, a smokeless gunpowder alternative.

He died in London in 1923.


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